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29-Year-Old Arrested for Pretending to Be a High School Student

Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A 29-year-old woman was arrested last week for pretending to be a student at a public high school in New Jersey for four days, The New York Times reported.

The woman, Hyejeong Shin, was arrested Thursday after providing documents that falsified her age to officials at New Brunswick Public Schools. For almost a week, she attended classes, spent time in the guidance counselor’s office, and befriended students at the school who she continued to text after her real identity was revealed. 


Shin reportedly provided a fake birth certificate to the school, which is a third-degree crime, the New Brunswick Police Department told the Times. The school realized after Shin began taking classes that they were given fraudulent documents. 

“Once our staff determined it was dealing with fraudulent information, they immediately notified the appropriate authorities,” Aubrey Johnson, the school superintendent,  said in a statement. The students who were in contact with Shin were told to end all contact with her, and she has been banned from school grounds. 

A former student at the school wrote on Twitter that Shin harassed students to “hang out” with her, even after her arrest.


At a Board of Education meeting, almost a dozen students showed up to speak out on their concerns over the situation. The students were not permitted to speak, however, because they did not register ahead of time. 

In a video posted to YouTube, the students who wanted to speak at the meeting showed a reporter from New Brunswick Today the messages they received from Shin.

New Brunswick Today noted that Shin pretended to be 15 years old. 

“We feel so unsafe and nobody wants to listen to us,” student Ethan Calderon told the outlet. 

One student, Tatianna, reportedly heard from Shin as recently as 10:56 p.m. on January 23. 

“I was in class with this woman, and talked to her, walked her from point A to point B, and never expected this to happen,” she said. “Not knowing she was a 29-year-old woman makes me question how safe I am in this building.” 


Tatianna shared that she gave some of her “personal information” to Shin. 

After Shin’s arrest, a campus spokesperson from Rutgers University confirmed that Shin graduated from the school, according to NJ.com.

Police told KKTV that the New Jersey Department of Education requires schools to immediately enroll unaccompanied children without records typically required for enrollment. 

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